Sunday, June 10, 2007

What is travel: Let's get quotably thought-provoking

Travel is not just sightseeing - even if you've only been reading my work five minutes you've hopefully gathered that's how I think. Personally I believe that travel is essential for overcoming narrowmindedness, for learning about yourself, for appreciating your home and a million other reasons. Over time I've collected the opinions of a few other (more famous) people - so don't listen to me, listen to them:
  • Paul Theroux, who I alternately think of as a big grump or a genius, but nonetheless inspired me with The Great Railway Bazaar, accurately said "Travel is glamorous only in retrospect."
  • Paul Tournier, famous to me only as a maker of quotes, hit the nail on the head for me with this:"The real meaning of travel, like that of a conversation by the fireside, is the discovery of oneself through contact with other people, and its condition is self-commitment in the dialogue."
  • More poetically, Robert Louis Stevenson explained his attitude to travel like this:
    "For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints."
  • And finally, British writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton said this almost a century ago, but I think it's even more relevant today:
    The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land."

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